Associate Professor Sandie Degnan

Associate Professor

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
+61 7 334 69005


Evolutionary and ecological genomics of marine invertebrate animals.

Animals evolve because their genomes need to respond to the constantly changing environment presented by both their external habitat and their internal microbial symbionts. Over evolutionary time, these different factors interact during development, when the animal body plan is being established, to generate the extraordinary animal diversity that graces our planet. In ecological time, early life history stages must detect and respond to the precise nature of their environment to generate a locally-adapted functional phenotype. Using coral reef invertebrates from phyla that span the animal kingdom, we study these gene-environment interactions using genomic, molecular and cellular approaches combined with behavioural ecology in natural populations. We work mostly with embryonic and larval life history stages of indirect developers, as these are crucial to the survival, connectivity, and evolution of marine populations. When not immersed in the molecular or computer lab, we are lucky enough to be immersed in the ocean, often in beautiful places!


  • PhD (Zoology), The University of Queensland
  • BSc (Hons), The University of Queensland


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • (2018) Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Degnan, Bernard M., Adamska, Maja, Richards, Gemma S., Larroux, Claire, Leininger, Sven, Bergum, Brith, Calcino, Andrew, Taylor, Karin, Nakanishi, Nagayasu and Degnan, Sandie M. (2015). Porifera. In Andreas Wanninger (Ed.), Evolutionary developmental biology of invertebrates 1: introduction, non-bilateria, acoelomorpha, xenoturbellida, chaetognatha (pp. 65-106) Vienna, Austria: Springer Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-3-7091-1862-7

  • Watson, Jabin, Degnan, Bernard, Degnan, Sandie and Krömer, Jens O. (2014). Determining the biomass composition of a sponge holobiont for flux analysis. In Jens O. Krömer, Lars K. Nielsen and Lars M. Blank (Ed.), Metabolic flux analysis: methods and protocols (pp. 107-125) New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-1170-7_7

  • Heyland, Andreas, Degnan, Sandie and Reitzel, Adam M. (2011). Emerging patterns in the regulation and evolution of marine invertebrate settlement and metamorphosis. In Thomas Flatt and Andreas Heyland (Ed.), Mechanisms of life history evolution: The genetics and physiology of life history traits and trade-offs (pp. 29-42) Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

  • Bernard M. Degnan, Adamska, Maja, Craigie, Alina, Degnan, Sandie M., Fahey, Bryony, Gauthier, Marie, Hooper, John N. A., Larroux, Claire, Leys, Sally P., Lovas, Erica and Richards, Gemma S. (2009). The Demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica: Reconstructing the ancestral metazoan genome and deciphering the origin of animal multicellularity. In Gann, Alexander and Crotty, David (Ed.), Emerging Model Organisms: A Laboratory Manual 1 ed. (pp. 139-166) Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

  • Baverstock, P. R., Degnan, S. and Joseph, L. (1994). Units of management in biological conservation. In Conservation Biology in Australia and Oceania (pp. 287-293) Chipping Norton, NSW: Surrey Beatty & Sons.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision